Doctors at Penn Medicine, Philadelphia on Thursday announced the birth of a baby in the U.S. whose mother got a uterine transplant from a deceased donor. The doctors who made the announcement said that the baby had been born since November and that the baby is doing just fine. The mother of the child who is from Pennsylvania is said to have been born with an underdeveloped uterus.
What this means according to the doctors is that she would never have been able to carry a child of her own without a uterus transplant. Speaking on the birth of her son, Jennifer Gobrecht, 33, said that she and her husband had always wanted to expand their family. But then they knew that their options were limited. “Now, here we are with our beautiful baby boy, Benjamin Thomas Gobrecht,” she said. Jennifer Gobrecht learned of her genetic abnormality when she was 17 years old. She was told by her physician that she had the Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome- a condition that affects the reproductive system of women. Her ovaries were said to be functioning well but her uterus was not properly developed. Hence she would not be able to carry her own child.
Doctors say that most women with the condition often learn about it in their teenage years as they are often unable to menstruate when they come of age. Gobrecht said that learning of her condition on that day was one of the hardest things she has had to deal with. “It was a very painful thing to hear at that age. Like most young girls I had dreams of being a loving mother whose baby would grow in her womb. I dreamt of feeling my baby kicking inside me. The news shattered those dreams,” she said.
Statistics show that about 5 percent of women worldwide are affected by this condition during their childbearing years. The syndrome is one of the many conditions collectively referred to as uterine factor infertility. These women are left with only a few options to parenthood including adoption, surrogacy, the use of a gestational carrier and uterus transplantation. A uterus transplant is the only option that allows these women to carry their babies in their own womb and give birth to them. There are about a dozen women in the U.S. who have given birth to their own children after a womb transplant. However, most of these women have received a uterus from a living donor.
Jennifer Gobrecht did not receive hers from a living donor and she is the second woman in the U.S to have given birth to a baby after receiving a uterus from a deceased donor. The first of its kind in the U.S. occurred last year at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Gobrecht went for the uterine transplant in 2018 and doctors say that the complicated procedure lasted for about 10
Several months after the procedure, the couple’s embryo which was previously stored was implanted in Gobrecht. The new mother who says that the birth of her son is a miracle expressed appreciation for the opportunity to be in the trial and matched with a donor. She added that she is hopeful that many others who struggle with a similar condition will benefit from the new research and have babies of their own soon.